By Heather Johns
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Author and Bucknell University alumnus Philip Roth, Class of '54, is the winner of the fourth Man Booker International Prize.
The prestigious award is presented every two years to a living author for a body of work published in English. It has previously been awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005, Chinua Achebe in 2007 and Alice Munro in 2009.
Roth's 1960 debut novel, Goodbye, Columbus, won the U.S. National Book Award. But Roth is best known for his 1969 novel, Portnoy's Complaint. Its controversial material heightened his literary stature and launched him into notoriety. He won a Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral in 1997.
"For more than 50 years Philip Roth's books have stimulated, provoked and amused an enormous, and still expanding, audience," said Rick Gekoski, chair of the judging panel for the International Booker Prize. "His imagination has not only recast our idea of Jewish identity, it has also reanimated fiction, and not just American fiction, generally. ... His is an astonishing achievement."
"One of the particular pleasures I've had as a writer is to have my work read internationally despite all the heartaches of translation that that entails," said Roth in a news release. "This is a great honor and I'm delighted to receive it." || Watch his acceptance message on YouTube.
The other contenders for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize were Juan Goytisolo (Spain), James Kelman (U.K.), John le Carré (U.K.), Amin Maalouf (Lebanon), David Malouf (Australia), Dacia Maraini (Italy), Rohinton Mistry (India/Canada), Philip Pullman (U.K.), Marilynne Robinson (U.S.), Su Tong (China), Anne Tyler (U.S.) and Wang Anyi (China).
Roth's award will be celebrated at a formal dinner in London on June 28.
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